THE WEIRD SISTERS: LOVEPLAY
Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2000

This two-hander for around a dozen characters (plus periodic interjections from talking taps, lamp and naughty bits really) has won awards on the Vancouver and Adelaide Fringes. I confess myself utterly mystified and to how and why this can be.

Alison Goldie and Kath Burlinson engage in a series of easy, self-satisfied characterisations rooted in the kind of polite middle-class concern which more often serves to salve the conscience of the worrier than to give any succour to the object thereof. We see, in overlapping storylines, the frustrated deserted wife, the couple whose marriage is on the rocks, the sexually awakening student and the unresolved bitterness between an elderly mother and her middle-aged daughter; however, the sympathy invested by the duo in their characters is never more than perfunctory. Of course ordinary people's ordinary concerns can and often do make great drama, but only when imbued with much more passion and commitment than The Weird Sisters' discreet "Look, we can do all these people between just the two of us!" ostentation. The end result is rather like a pop-psychological theatre-in-education piece, and its banalities simply don't wash.

Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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